Kendrick Lamar may be considered the GOAT for his sheer elitism and conscious lyrics, but he doesn’t expect everyone to be a replica of him. In his recent cover story for Forbes for the magazine’s annual “30 Under 30 List,” Kunfu Kenny dropped some gems about the current state of hip-hop and mumble rap’s place in the culture.
There has been much debate about the new style of rap, which has often been attributed to artists like Future, Lil Uzi Vert, and Lil Yachty. But according to Kendrick, the new sub-genre is a prime example of how the craft is evolving. “I want hip-hop to continue to evolve. That's why I can't shun a lot of the artists that may not be a Kendrick Lamar, he said. “But this is what I tell them every time I see them ... be yourself and do what you do but also know who laid down the groundwork.”
He added that they deserve respect despite whether you agree with their style or not. “Don't go on your interviews and diss them and say you don't like them and you don't care for them,” he continued. “That's your opinion, that's cool but you have to respect them. So talking down on the folks that inspired us to do this, it'd never be right. You dig what I'm saying? So at the end of the day as long as you be who you are but respect what got us here, that's how you continue to evolve.”
While he is okay with mumble rap, he isn’t too sure about what constitutes as a conscious rapper. He recalled: “Everybody have they own opinions, but ... I always go back to what 50 Cent said, and it always stuck with me. And when he said it, it made an even more valid point,” Kendrick told the magazine. “He said, ‘We all are conscious, whether you're doing gangsta rap, whether you're doing so called conscious rap, whether you doing whatever genre you may in because you have a post, you alive and you're telling your true feelings ... these are your true thoughts and you're conscious of them, and you're aware of them. You are conscious, as simple as that.’ When he said that, that inspired me to not only recognize my own influence on what I have with my people.”
Check out the rest of Kendrick Lamar’s interview here.